Financial security might not be enough to ensure happiness or satisfaction with one's life, says a study done on the mental state of the modern American woman.
Women who concentrate much of their thinking on financial matters are much less likely to be happy with their lives, according to Talya Miron-Shatz, postdoctoral research fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
She said that contrary to expectations, many of those with such worries had plenty of money by conventional standards, suggesting that there is more at play in obtaining peace of mind than simply having cash.
"Even if you are making a hundred grand a year, if you are constantly worried that you are going to get fired, that you are going to lose your health insurance or that you are simply not sure you are going to 'make it,' you are not going to be happy," Miron-Shatz said.
She found that such concerns affected a wide variety of women at all income levels.
Conversely, those who didn't fixate on finances like retirement savings, tuition for college or simply making ends meet, reported being the happiest of the group.
To understand how income and concerns over financial security may relate to a person's satisfaction with life, Miron-Shatz conducted two separate studies of a representative sample of nearly 1,000 American women of various ages and incomes.
In one study, she showed that considerations of financial security were as important to the study subjects as their monetary assets.
She asked subjects in the second study to think about the future in an open-ended manner.
Miron-Shatz found that those who did so and mentioned financial concerns, retirement, college tuition, making ends meet, etc., were less satisfied with their lives than those who did not raise such concerns.
The study was published Feb. 25 in Judgment and Decision Making.